Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Introducing... Butternut!

With the excitement of Christmas behind us, this seems as good a time as any to announce our big news...
We are expecting a new baby!!
Since we don't yet know if it's a boy or a girl, we have lovingly nicknamed the baby "Butternut," though "Elly" enjoys coming up with new nicknames on an almost-daily basis.

It seems the biggest question I've had when telling people the news is, "Are you going to have the baby in Singapore?" The answer is, "Yes." I've found a doctor who I'm very happy with and I'm really impressed with the hospital. I hope it will be as easy a birth as "Elly" was.

That's all for now. I just wanted to make the announcement before the new year. I'll try to start blogging again so my friends and family can follow along on this new journey. Although, as of yet, there has been little to report. Let's pray it stays that way . . . that is, of course, until the peaceful, easy birth of a new little Arel.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Two Anniversaries, One Week

July 27, 1996
August 2, 2008

Can you guess the significance of these two dates? Both are anniversaries and both are dates that mark life changes for us. The anniversaries are within one week of each other (barely).

I'll start with the most recent, August 2, 2008. - - It was 1 year ago that we moved to Singapore. [Well, technically, we left the U.S. on July 31 but we didn't arrive in Singapore until August 2 so that's the date I'm using.]

It's been over a year, now, since we have been home. I call it "home" because I still don't feel entirely like this is home. It's where our home is for now. I'm very happy here and I'm not ready to leave yet, but I can't imagine that I wouldn't want to go back to Southern California to live again at some point. Sure... Singapore is great and there are definitely some advantages to being here rather than in the U.S. but that doesn't change how I feel in my heart.

Now, on to the other anniversary, July 27, 1996!

Thirteen years ago, "Gander" and I were married. As our officiating minister said during the ceremony... it is probably the best we would ever look in our entire lives. I won't comment on "Gander" but I will comment on myself simply by saying, "True, true."

If I had the energy and time, I'd take a photo of a photo from our wedding day to show you just how wonderful we looked. I know that sounds conceited but, if you saw the picture you'd agree. I know you would. :-D (And if you didn't agree, I know you'd be too polite to say so, right?) Unfortunately, it's past midnight and I just don't feel like messing with it so, sorry. You're just going to have to trust me when I say I was a beautiful, elegant (well, maybe not elegant) bride and "Gander" was a handsome, charming groom and we were clearly thrilled to be husband and wife.

Fast-forward 13 years - - -

We celebrated our anniversary in Langkawi, Malaysia. We stayed at The Andaman for a family vacation (a different post) and had a babysitter from the hotel watch the girls while we enjoyed an amazing, beautiful, and romantic private dinner on the beach.

I know we don't look as "amazing" as we did on our wedding day. That's ok. What's important is we are still thrilled to be husband and wife.

Monday, July 20, 2009

My Baby Is Now 6 Years Old

I'm trying to come up with something more original to say then "It's hard to believe..." but I have no other words. It's just that simple -- it's hard to believe my baby is already 6 years old. Lately Elly has been telling me she wants me to have another baby so that she won't be the youngest in the family. She doesn't like to be the "baby." But she is. She'll always be, no matter how old she gets. But, of course, that's not an original statement either, I know. I suppose a commonly experienced motherly emotion calls for a common phrase to express it.

About 10 days ago Elly turned 6 years old. I took Elly and GG to the water park "Wild Wild Wet" to celebrate (just us girls). We went on all the rides/attractions Elly was big enough for. We had a blast floating down the "Shiok River," riding the waves in the "Tsunami," playing on the playground and slides, and "white water rafting" on the Ular-Lah. The next day, we headed back for more with Daddy this time for Elly's birthday party. Because many of Elly's friends are away for the summer, the group of kids was small. Even so, we had a nice group of kids and parents and a great time celebrating Elly's special day. She had cupcakes with cocktail umbrellas on top (Elly's idea for an added decorational touch).

All these photos are from my friend, Jane. Thanks for being our photographer, Jane!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Just her luck!

Have you ever been locked inside the stall of a restroom?

It's never once happened to me. You? Maybe only once or twice in a lifetime, right?

Ask GG how many times it's happened to her. Nevermind. You don't need to ask her. I'll save you the trouble and just tell you.

GG has been locked/stuck inside a toilet stall 4 times. Yes, 4! And it has all been within the last 3 1/2 months.

It happened again today (the fourth time). I couldn't help laughing (pretty hard) when I realized what was taking her so long in the toilet. I did have the common sense, though, to leave earshot before laughing.

Today was the first time GG had company. Elly was in the stall with her. I hope that doesn't mean GG's luck will rub off on Elly.

This wouldn't be such a big deal except that, for some reason, the doors to the stalls in most of the restrooms in Singapore are made so there is only about a 4 inch clearance from the door to the floor. There is no way to slip in/out under the stall door, even if you are really skinny. The only thing to do is wait for someone to come rescue you. GG's rescue has come in the form of:

1. 2 maintenance men working together with a hammer and a screwdriver (used as a wedge); this was after a string of about 5 other people tried to get the door to open

2. a key to the bathroom that had to be obtained from the management office

3. a storekeeper's skillful use of her finger to turn the lock from the outside (it looked like it wasn't the first time she'd done that)


4. a 20-cent coin used to turn the lock from the outside

The good news is... with each "imprisonment" GG faces, the method of "release" is becoming easier and easier.

I'm wondering if any of you can beat the record for being locked in a restroom 4 times in 3 1/2 months?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Summer Vacation... It's Not Just for Kids

I hear parents complain about summer vacation. They get sick of the kids being around. They want some peace and quiet. They look forward to the day that school starts up again and they no longer have to listen to the chorus of "I'm bored" or "Can't we do something fun today?"

I can relate to a certain extent but, to be honest, I am loving summer vacation with the kids. I, actually, may be enjoying it more than they are. Sure, there are times I'd rather have more time to myself and less noise and mess to deal with. Like today when we I had to take them grocery shopping with me and the checker told me I looked "really stressed." (Yeah, I don't enjoy grocery shopping with my kids at ALL!) However, there are some definite advantages to being on break from school.

I think top on my list of reasons to love summer vacation is probably sleeping in. I'll probably regret it come August 11 (first day of school) but we've been sleeping in until between 8-9 AM most mornings. I haven't decided if we'll keep this up as long as possible or if I'll start easing us into an earlier morning schedule about 2 weeks before school starts. The thought of waking up early unnecessarily makes me sad (and tired) but, then again, the thought of dealing with kids that won't/can't wake up on time to catch the school bus isn't too attractive either.

Another perk to summer vacation is the freedom to "fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants." I don't like the feeling of being too scheduled. I like to have loose plans and vague ideas of what's going to happen during a day/week. Waking up in the morning to a variety of options for the day's activities is fun for me. Yes, we still have commitments throughout the week but the majority of our time is spent relaxing and doing what we feel like doing. I'm enjoying the playdates with friends, spontaneous outings, and hours spent beside the pool watching the girls play together. Most the kids in the condo are in school right now (local schools follow a different holiday schedule) and most the girls' friends from international school are either out of Singapore for the summer or not close enough to meet up with every day. That means the girls mostly just swim and play with each other most days.

This brings up something else I love about summer (or at least, our experience for this summer). GG and Elly have been getting along so much better. They still disagree and bicker (and, yes, even fight) but spending more time together has made them closer. I'm really enjoying watching them play together so well.

Since this post is rather long already, I'll limit myself to one more reason why I love summer vacation. There has been a sharp decrease in the cost of medical care. I happened to walk by the kids' doctor's office today (it's in the same shopping center as Grace's gymnastics class, different level) and it hit me... we haven't been to the doctor since before school was out. It's probably been almost 2 months since we've been to the doctor. I'll just say this - having contact with fewer children has sure helped on the health-front.

To wrap it up, I just want to mention how thankful I am to be in a position where I can enjoy summer vacation. I know many people don't have it so easy and I recognize that. I feel incredibly blessed!!

Now tell me... what do you love (or hate) about summer vacation, assuming you experience it in some way, shape, or form?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

See what happens????

I warned you this may happen. Well, kind of. Maybe I didn't say it in so many words but you could have read between the lines and figured this might happen.

Remember this post? -- My New Year's Resolutions

I made a new year's resolution to blog more. Since then, it was a steady and quick decline into a world of complete blog silence. It's been almost 4 months since I've blogged anything at all. It's been longer if you don't count the last couple posts as *real posts,* which I don't.

Now you see why I almost never make new year's resolutions? It's a nearly surefire plan for failure. I have about as much resolve as a ..............
uh...... hmmm.....
Well, I don't know what that would be. Any suggestions?

Don't be too harsh. After all, I managed to squeak out this post, didn't I? I'll refrain from any predictions about future success or failure, though, and just stick with my good intentions for now.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Fun with Photo Booth

In lieu of a "real" post, here's a photo showing you what GG and I were having fun with the other night.

Tell me how my 8 year old daughter knew how to use the program "Photo Booth" on my (er... our) Mac. Not only that... she was able to find this program (that I didn't even know existed) and open it with no help whatsoever. [My guess is maybe they've used the program at school during I.T. class. ~It's a Mac school. ~ Even so, I'm still impressed.]

Gander added the background and the comment at the bottom. You can click on the picture to enlarge it.

Yes, I know it's been more than a month since I've blogged. I'll fill you all in soon, hopefully.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Something I won't be trying

I won't say there is a shortage of sweets/desserts in Singapore, at least in the areas that I frequent. That would be far from the truth. I haven't had any trouble finding sweets to sample. Some are pretty good, some aren't worth eating again, and very few are the stuff that dreams are made of.

To my dismay, I've found that there are quite a lot of vile creations masquerading as sweets. Apparently, some Asian cultures have a thing for beans in their desserts. All I can say is, "Huh?" I know, I know... to each his own, right? Well, thank you very much but I will stick to my own beloved favorites that do NOT includes beans, that is unless they are of the espresso bean or cocoa bean variety.

Speaking of beans, you guys all know of that happy little place called "The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf?" It's the home of the "Original Ice Blended" line of drinks. Back in the U.S. I'd sometimes treat myself to a "black forest ice blended" - iced mocha with espresso beans and maraschino cherries all blended together. I've tried it at The Coffee Bean here. I can't put my finger on it but it just doesn't taste the same. Last time I went to The Coffee Bean, I was presented with a new variety to consider. I think I'll stick with a latte but would any of you care for a
Red Bean Ice Blended Drink?

Monday, February 9, 2009

Only 10 more years...

'Til our baby turns 18, Lord willing. (How's that for looking to the future?)

GG will be 8 years old in about 18 hours from now. I know I sound just like any other mom when I say this but: "I don't know where the time has gone. How can she possibly be this old already?"

If you post a comment to tell GG happy birthday, I'll be sure to pass along the message. :-)

In celebration of GG's birthday, I will take homemade cupcakes to school tomorrow for her class. Her birthday party won't be until the 21st of February. She decided she wanted to have a "make your own pizza" party at our favorite Italian restaurant/pizzeria. Gander will still, most likely, be in Australia at that point so I'm a little stressed about having to handle the party all on my own but I'm thankful we are having it at Madrina Pizzaria. The people that work there know us well, considering we eat there every Sunday after church, and they are wonderful, kind, and helpful people so, in reality, I won't be all alone handling the party.

I may end up baking the birthday cake for her party because:
(A) I have not been able to find anywhere in Singapore that makes cakes that taste like and have the texture of what we're used to. The cakes that I've tasted in Singapore are more "spongy" than we like and taste different. I can't even remember seeing a chocolate cake except for the ones I've seen at restaurants that would rival the Claimjumper's Chocolate Motherlode cake in regards to decadence. That's not exactly the type of cake I'd use as birthday cake for an 8 year old, no matter how special and wonderful she is.
(B) From prices I've seen thus far, it would cost *at least* S$100 for a birthday cake. Thank you, but I'll pass. Where's the Albertson's bakery or Costco when I need one?!?!

I still haven't decided on a gift to give GG for her birthday. I'll, obviously, be shopping while the girls are at school. Wish me luck! :-)

Monday, February 2, 2009

Time to find my sanity

After the girls' week-long vacation from school (for Chinese New Year), I'm extremely thankful for the events of the last 15 minutes.
~~They left on the school bus!~~

The combination of Gander being gone in Australia, not having a car to go places quickly and more easily than the public transport, and not having friends to hang out with like we did back home resulted in overload for all of us, I think. We did get out and do some things and spend time with some friends that the girls have made. It's just more stressful, in a way, because it all takes so much planning and the girls are still "finding their way" with the friends, not having had many opportunities for play with them.

I hate to say that I'm glad the girls have gone to school but... well, it's the truth. I love them and (when they are not being difficult) I like to be with them. It's just that after this week I've been missing something. So please excuse me now. I need to go look for my sanity. I can't remember where I placed it. I'm afraid it may have been stolen but I'm hoping to be able to track it down.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

What I like about Singapore, Part 4

It's been a long time since I wrote a post on this topic. It's not because there aren't things I like about Singapore, I've just been busy with other things.

If you missed parts 1-3, click on over if you like - - Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
I'm going to have a hard time explaining "what I like about Singapore" this time. There isn't a single word that comes to mind and even the multi-word descriptions I'm thinking of don't really explain it clearly. "Innocence" isn't exactly what I mean and "childishness" isn't right either. The best I can do to explain it is just to say that it is not like Southern California's so jaded and "been-there-done-that" environment. Read this article (yes, click on "this article") on Yahoo! News and maybe you'll see what I'm trying to describe. Pay careful attention to the last line of the article, a quote from a Singaporean blogger. I don't think you'd ever hear anything like that from someone in "too-cool-for-you SoCal." [On a different note, I also think you'll find another interesting tidbit in the article about the law regarding protests in Singapore.]

I don't know how long that link to the news article will stay active but I hope it will be for a while. It should link to a story titled, "Naked couple surprises diners in Singapore stroll." The place where it happened is somewhere that we spend quite a bit of time shopping and eating, by the way.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Gong Xi Fa Cai

I'm not exactly sure what "Gong Xi Fa Cai" means but I know it has something to do with the Chinese New Year. I think it roughly means "congratulations and be prosperous."

As promised, here are some photos of decorations for Chinese New Year that I took around Singapore. I am trying something new - a slideshow. You should be able to see it automatically playing below with captions. Let me know if it's not working.

Below you'll find a 2-minute video of a lion dance that was probably about 20 minutes altogether. I would have taped more (it got more interesting) but, unfortunately, my batteries died. I enjoyed watching the lion dance and am impressed with the skill of the dancers. Later on (after my batteries died) there was a second lion that joined the dance. Pretty neat how they can stay synchronized while not able to see the other dancers is impressive. And my sympathy is with those poor fellows dancing as the tails of the lions, just seeing the rear end of the guy dancing as the head. [I know my grammar's off. Sorry.]

Enjoy the video and watch for the lion blinking his eyes. For some reason I especially liked that aspect. (And, by the way, at no point in the video do you hear me talking so... that lady talking loudly is not me.) The drums are really loud so you may want to turn down your volume first. Quoting from wikipedia: "It is believed that the loud beats of the drum and the deafening sounds of the cymbals together with the face of the dragon or lion dancing aggressively can evict bad or evil spirits."

I hope you've enjoyed your "taste" of Chinese New Year!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Just a quick note to say...

I'll be back later to post pictures that I took of Chinese New Year decorations and a video of the Lion Dance we watched today. With the girls on vacation from school, I'm not getting much time on the computer for myself but... I WILL prevail (eventually; at least for a little while; I think; maybe). Come back soon to check for an update. :-)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Holidays and why I think Singapore is like a pot of stew

Before I start... a little disclaimer. The following is my opinion from what I've observed. I could be wrong. I mean, really, I've only been here 5 months so I'd be awfully foolish to say that I'm an expert, by any means. In other words, don't take what I say as gospel, just my take on things at this point in time.

Singapore is a truly unique place, I feel. The U.S. is unique, as well, but in a different way. You often hear the U.S. referred to as a melting pot. I've never heard that description for Singapore. It's different -- more like a stew pot than a melting pot, if I had to call it a "pot" of any kind. Everyone, from different races, cultures, and religions come together to make a single, wonderful group (the stew) while still maintaining each of their various heritages and identities. (You know how in stew you can still see what the different ingredients are rather than all being blended together so you can no longer recognize them or pick them out.) It's really a very interesting thing to observe: Singaporeans are proud of their nationality and, no matter their heritage, view themselves as "Singaporean" but they are also, still, strongly and, usually, obviously something else, too.

Most Singaporeans are Chinese (about 75%, I think). The largest groups, other than Chinese, are the Malays and Indians. Behind all of them in percentage of population would be everybody else (like me). I'm still not exactly sure what Malay means but I do understand it is necessarily a Muslim; that's part of the definition. And, for the sake of simplicity, a lot of Chinese are Buddhist and most Indians are Hindu, though there are quite a lot that are Muslim. So the largest religious groups in Singapore are Buddhists, Hindus, and Muslims. To be fair, there are also a large number of Christians and those who practice other various religions such as Sikhism, Taoism, etc. But all in all, Singapore has 3 "big" religious groups. What I think is interesting is how Singaporeans are so culturally and religiously sensitive to all the different groups. It's part of being a Singaporean, apparently. You have to be respectful towards everyone's beliefs and any attempts to create division or animosity can truly get you into trouble with the government. The government here is very strict about all sorts of things, this being one of them. I'm not going to say whether I think this approach is right or wrong but I will say that it makes for a very nice culture (at least as far as I can see so far) and, since people are raised with this attitude since birth, it is genuine.

It's wonderful that we're all free to worship as we believe without fear of being persecuted. The other, less noble and embarrassingly selfish, reason I enjoy this is because the government observes all of the different religious holidays (plus some non-religious, as well). So, since we've arrived in Singapore, we've had holidays for things that I'd never heard of before - Hari Raya Puasa (Muslim), Deepavali (Hindu), and Hari Raya Haji (Muslim). There was the Hungry Ghost Festival (Buddhist) (not really a holiday but it is widely celebrated here, as is that of the whole lunar month as the Ghost month). We, of course, had Christmas (Christian), New Year's Day, and will have several other holidays as this new year continues. Coming up next week is Chinese New Year (a.k.a. Lunar New Year). I wouldn't really say it's a religious holiday, though, more of a cultural one. The girls get a whole week off of school. It's a REALLY big deal here, considering what a large majority of the population is Chinese. There are decorations everywhere (very pretty). I've been meaning to take pictures of some of the decorations but keep forgetting.

I'm not saying I, personally, celebrate all of these holidays, nor would I, but it's nice to get the benefit of having a holiday for the family. It's also interesting learning about the different cultures and religions. The most unexpected, though, is an official holiday for my birthday. I've always known my birthday, May 1, was on May Day. I didn't realize that some places in the world actually still celebrate May Day (called "Labour Day" here). So this year, the whole family will have a holiday for my birthday!! What fun!! :-)

Monday, January 19, 2009

"I can't believe it's snowing in Paris!"

Adding on to what Gander already posted from our trip to Paris, here is a short video taken on our last day there. Please know that GG was being "dramatic." It was about her third time having to open the video for me because I kept goofing up with recording. The rest of it is "authentic." You'll catch glimpses of my mom trying to take pictures of the girls.

Wild Wild Wet!

We went to a birthday party for a classmate of Elly's this weekend. It was at a waterpark called Wild Wild Wet. Get it? Like wild, wild west. I wish I had taken a swimsuit to join in the fun. Lately it's been quite windy here so I thought I'd be cold but, turns out Saturday was a perfect day. Oh well. I think I'm going to buy annual passes for us because it's so cheap and it would also give us admission to a theme park with rides and bumper cars and such. Wet Wet Wild isn't as big as Raging Waters and the Escape Theme Park, I'm sure, is a far cry from what we're used to (Knott's and Disneyland) but it'd still be fun. (Oh, how I miss going to D-land any time we wanted.) Only drawback is these places are on the opposite end of Singapore so it takes over an hour to get there if we take the MRT and bus. Still worth it though, I think.

Here's some photos of the girls:
GG hamming it up

Elly being mellow

This isn't the greatest photo but I like it because it shows that sometimes GG and Elly actually get along and work together. GG (blue vest) is getting the tube for Elly and helping her get in.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

London and Paris

I have declared the following 15-20 minutes an official break time for me. I am writing this in my hotel room in Sydney, Australia and looking out the window on a beautiful Sunday afternoon without a cloud in the sky. I should be outside walking around and exploring this great city, but I'm working and have a busy week ahead. I leave on Wed eve for two days of meetings and presentations in Singapore and then fly back to Sydney on Sunday for another 4-6 weeks. Anyways, I am deliquent in posting some pics and video from our holiday vacation in London and Paris - There are a lot, so I'll post a few select that I'm sure you'll enjoy.

Have a G' day mate'....
The Singapore Gooseman
Princess Diana Park - London
U.S. Embassy - London
Me and Mrs. - London
The Louvre -Paris - The Largest museum in the world!!!

Gracie - Top or Eiffel Tower - Paris

Mirror Photo; having dinner - Paris

Seinfeld shirt in London - Lauren was a good sport thinking it was a gift - in actuality it was a gag gift from my Sister in Texas :) Starlene is in the background laughing so hard, she's crying.... :)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Unexpected...

When we first moved to Singapore, I didn't expect to find a lot of American chains here besides Starbucks and McDonalds. Since then, I've been surprised by some of the things that I've found here. I thought some of you might find the observations interesting.

*KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken)- It's huge here. There are lots of billboards and tv commercials. You can get free delivery -- just call 6222-6111. There's a jingle for it: "6, triple 2, 6, triple 1." (I know you can't here the tune but I am humming it in my head as I type it.) There menu's not exactly the same (they don't have biscuits, for instance) but, for the most part, it's the same. Gander insists the chicken tastes better here but, to me, it tastes the same.

*McDelivery- I expected McDonalds but, this? Free delivery! Sure helps this worn out mom on busy nights when I just don't have any energy left. Thankfully, Gander has been very gracious about understanding when I take this route and, though he won't eat McD's, he is willing to eat some simple leftovers in the fridge for his dinner.

*Pizza Hut- It's pretty big here. The free delivery doesn't surprise me since that's normal in U.S. What surprises me is that they have actual Pizza Hut "restaurants" with a full menu - pizza, pasta, salad, etc.

*Coffee chains other than Starbucks- Gloria Jean's, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Spinelli- I'd never heard of Spinelli before coming here but it is a San Francisco based company. Unfortunately, I have become (nearly) addicted to their Mexican Wedding Cake cookies. While there is an abundance of US based coffee specialty shops, I've found the flip-side of that is... coffee from anywhere else (unless they use a cappuccino machine) is almost always instant coffee or this other different kind of coffee that I haven't figured out yet (made with powder different from instant granules, poured back and forth through a nylon-looking cloth). The other unfortunate part is, a regular cup of black coffee from any of these specialty shops costs roughly S$4, at least.

*Swensen's- I remember this from my childhood as an ice-cream parlor. At some point, they all disappeared... or so I thought. Apparently, they just moved out of the country. Here, Swensen's serves ice cream but also has a full menu. We ate there once but were very unimpressed so we haven't been back.

That's all I can think of for now but if I remember anything else, I'll be sure to write a Part 2 to this post.

Monday, January 12, 2009

My new way to waste time

Now that the girls are back in school, what will I do with my free time?

Hmmm.... I could list a bunch of things that I *should* do (like unpack our boxes from the move over 5 months ago) but instead I opted for something else, more fun, you know?

I joined Facebook this morning. I got an invite from Monica so, being unable to turn down an invitation to anything that sounds like it might be fun, I joined. I have no idea WHAT to do at Facebook but I imagine, before long, I'll get the hang of it.

It's just what I need, don't you agree? More ways to spend time on the computer. Actually, I don't think I spend all that much time on the computer these days. I'm not home a whole lot and when I am home, I usually only get on the computer if no one else is home and that is only if I don't have to cook or clean or any of that *boring* stuff. When the girls are here, they are begging to either play on the computer or watch something on youtube. (I'm going to have to start using a timer for how much playtime they get because they are taking over the computer.) If they aren't on the computer, then I'm probably busy helping them with something, cleaning up a mess, or refereeing a disagreement of some sort. OK... I'm probably exaggerating (a little). It's not quite that bad but I will admit - - I didn't realize being a mother would be so much work. It doesn't look like this on tv, you know? I guess that's because if they showed the real life of a mother, no one would want to watch. It would be too agonizing.

What's going on here

I said I'd blog more but it's been almost a week already. Where does the time go? Thanks to Jenny for reminding me to get blogging. I really didn't realize it'd been so long. I don't know how time moves so quickly these days.

I'm not promising any *interesting* blog posts. But I hope I don't bore you to tears, either. Here is an update on what's been going on with us.

Those last 3 posts I wrote while sitting beside the pool, watching the girls swim. (I LOVE the weather here!! Not many places where you can hang out next to the pool all year round.) Here is the sum of activities we have done since then --
*went to Elly's friend's condo for lunch and playtime
*went out to eat too many times (I'd be embarrassed if I said)
*hung out at home - almost unfinished packing from trip to London, did laundry, cleaned (ugh!), let girls play on barbie.com, etc.
*sent Gander off to Sydney, Australia with hugs and kisses
*spent almost all of Sunday at church - service (1 1/2 hrs.), girls joined Awana (2 hrs.) and choir (1+ hours)

Exciting. I know.

Now that Gander is away, I was able to enjoy sleeping with the entire bed to myself and with the air conditioner turned OFF!! He always has to have the air conditioner on the whole night so I normally sleep with the covers pulled up to my chin. I am now able to sprawl out and sweat as much as I please. So... I'm not saying I like having Gander gone but it does have some positives (or at least 1).

The girls had their first day back at school today. I'm enjoying the quiet and peace!!!!

"What's going on here" To Be Continued in the next post

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Why blog more?

My resolution to blog more has a simple explanation - I missed being in touch with my friends and family over this last month that I stopped. Plus, blogging is fun. I know having a blog isn't a "complete package" with regard to staying in touch with friends, but it helps.

So that's it. If I fall of the blogging bandwagon again, please feel free to pester me in an e-mail. Just don't make me feel like I "HAVE to" do it, or I just might quit blogging altogether. (See my original post telling my resolutions to understand what that means if you don't.)

Why smile more? (and another glimpse into my crazy mind)

Why make a resolution to smile more, you might ask?

As I explained, I'm not big on New Year's resolutions. I generally have a bad attitude about them so I just avoid them altogether. This year, though, I thought "why not give it a shot?" Of course, being the perfectionist that I am, I know that if I made a grand goal with any level of planning/thinking whatsoever, I would be doomed to get lost in the research and planning phase of it. If I made a resolution with any type of quantifiable results (e.g. do this _ times per week), I'd be discouraged with my inevitable failure and give up entirely. So, knowing myself well enough, I realized that I'd have to stick to something that is simple to execute and that I'd be likely to accomplish. Don't you agree that "smile more" hits the mark?

The other reasons I picked this resolution:
*Smiling is good for me - the more I smile, the more I'll feel like smiling. (At least that's what I've heard.)
*I've become like most Singaporeans (that I see on the bus, train, streets, stores, etc.) by not smiling at strangers and keeping to myself. I figure I'll still keep to myself but that doesn't mean I can't smile. I don't really think that people are trying to be unfriendly. I think it's just the way things are here. But I don't think by walking around with a smile on my face, people will suspect any more or less that I'm not a native Singaporean. It's pretty obvious by my non-Asian physical features.
*I like to smile.

Good 'nough?

New Year's Resolutions and a glimpse into my crazy mind

It's been many years since I've made New Year's resolutions. Actually, I can't even remember the last time I made resolutions. All I can remember is thinking: "Why bother? It's not like I'll actually keep them. If I really had the will-power to make a self-improvement, then I wouldn't wait for the start of a new year to do it." My other problem with resolutions is something I consider a personality defect - - if I feel like I HAVE to do something, then I'll fight against it even if I logically recognize the benefit(s). I really, really hate being forced to do things or even feeling like I'm trapped into doing something. (Then again, maybe that's NOT a personality defect; maybe that's just part of being human.)

This year though, I decided to make two resolutions. They are pretty simple and I am going to be relaxed about them. I reserve the right to break them (because if I don't, then I'll feel the need to break them just so I don't feel like I have to keep them). [See the mind games I play with myself?]

Without further ado, here are my resolutions for the year of 2009 (btw, how can it possibly be 2009?) ----
1. Smile more
2. Blog more

I'll explain "why?" in upcoming posts.

Have you missed me?

It's been over a month since I have posted. I guess I needed a break. I pretty much took a break from the computer almost completely. The only exceptions were letting the girls watch Barbie movies on youtube or play games on barbie.com, occasionally checking/reading e-mail (but not writing a whole lot), and sometimes looking for a recipe. I didn't really mean to runaway from my online life. It just happened.

But now I'm back. I've missed reading my friends' blogs and staying in touch with people through e-mail. I don't know that you've really missed out on hearing about what's going on here - which is not much (other than our wonderful holiday trip). Gander has done a great job uploading videos and photos so we didn't entirely fall of the face off the web-earth. (I think there are more photos and videos to come but jetlag and being back to work have slowed down his progress in getting things posted.)

I hope you haven't missed me too much. I'll try to get back in the swing of things.